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Alleged noncompliance with Harassment and Abuse and Non-discrimination provisions of the Workplace Code of Conduct, including harassment, verbal abuse, and intimidation by specific managers named in the complaint.
In late May 2006, FLA received two separate Third Party Complaints filed by workers who requested confidentiality regarding Textile Co., Inc., in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Both complainants alleged noncompliance with Harassment and Abuse and Non-discrimination provisions of the Workplace Code of Conduct.
On June 20, the FLA initiated a Third Party Complaint at Step 2, and notified the complainants, as well as Gildan Activewear (the FLA-affiliated company mentioned in the complaint), about its action. (Note: Pursuant to Step 2, FLA companies have up to 45-days to conduct an assessment and report back to the Executive Director in writing as to whether noncompliance with the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct occurred and, if so, whether and how it had been remedied.)
Assessment by Company:
Gildan Activewear investigated the Third Party Complaint and developed a strategy to address the allegations through the following action plan:
Communicate directly the allegations to the managers named in the complaint and request their comments.
Dispatch senior management to the Dominican Republic to assess the situation and interview supervisors.
Facilitate on-site training on Leadership, Harassment, and Communication Skills for company's local supervisors and coordinators.
Engage Verité to conduct a Risk Assessment Audit of Gildan's 15 Code of Conduct standards, with particular emphasis on Harassment and Abuse.
Gildan Activewear provided the FLA with documentation on the training sessions (conducted in June and July 2006) and submitted information on an action plan developed by Verité (in the context of a Risk Assessment Audit conducted on August 24-25, 2006). Gildan Activewear clarified that one of the individuals named in the complaint did not occupy a managerial position and is no longer working for Gildan Activewear in the Dominican Republic.
The FLA was unable to get confirmation from the complainants that the situation in the plant had improved as a result of the implementation of the action plan since both workers have left employment with Textile Co., Inc.
Gildan Activewear implemented a remedial action plan to address the allegations in the Third Party Complaint. As a result of the implementation of the action plan, coupled with the change in the complainants’ status, the FLA terminated the case at Step 2 of the FLA Third Party Complaint process.
The FLA recommended that Gildan Activewear reinforce and publicize the follow-up process for complaints received through its “Integrity Line,” a confidential channel for workers to communicate directly with headquarters personnel about issues that arise at the factory level. The FLA believes that this would be helpful in dealing with any harassment and abuse allegations that may arise in any of Gildan Activewear’s supplier factories in the future.
FLA case story page: http://www.fairlabor.org/report/textile-co-inc-dominican-republic